In this modern, always-connected world we live in, digital addiction is a real risk. We’ve become so accustomed to the ease of digital transactions whether we’re working remotely, ordering our dinner, or finding our next romantic companion.

Using technology has become so commonplace and omnipresent that you might not even be aware that you’re addicted.

What is Digital Addiction?

Digital addiction is an impulse control disorder, also known as pathological internet use, that is characterized by the obsessive use of mobile devices, the internet or video games, despite negative consequences to the user. In some cases, users may ultimately find it difficult to differentiate between the virtual world and reality.

There are three types of digital addiction, including phone addiction, internet addiction and social media addiction. Let’s take a closer look at each.

3 Types of Digital Addiction

Phone Addiction

Phone addiction occurs when a person’s smartphone overuse begins to impact their daily lives in a negative manner. This type of addiction usually occurs in people with underlying behavioral and personality issues like anxiety, depression, and/or a socially challenged personality. Due to these social or behavioral issues, they begin to use their devices for comfort, and on a constant basis.

Internet Addiction

Internet addiction, also known as pathological internet use, is an impulse control disorder in which people find it difficult to differentiate between the virtual world and reality. According to Time to Log Off, a site dedicated to digital well-being, “sufferers tend to spend excessive amounts of time online, not only eating up time but also causing a higher risk of overspending by getting involved in online gambling and gaming”.

Social Media Addiction

Social media addiction occurs when someone spends far too much time on social media networks (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and the like) to a point where they document each and every aspect of their life on any/all platform(s). This can lead to users experiencing negative feelings due to constant comparison with others. In fact, according to a study by University of Michigan psychologist Ethan Kross, the more people used Facebook, the less happy they felt and the more their overall satisfaction declined. Essentially, overuse of social media sites like Facebook can make users unhappy.

There are many risks of digital addiction, so be mindful of the time you spend on the internet, your smartphone, and social media. You can always use apps that limit your time on social media sites, for example, and some phones now even offer this as a built-in feature.